GEORGE MCFALL-XIV:SURROUNDER –
(AKA Clean George IV & CGIV)
releases new album ‘XIV:Surrounder’
– out 1 February 2019 on Tenement Records –
“an orgy of bombastic riffs and gonzo sloganeering” – Q magazine
“genre pulverising melting pot of post-punk, prog tinged, krautrock, intelligent glam rock” – Clash
“a record that is as in thrall to your more prosaic Fall line-up as it is to the ostentatious ELO long-player” – The Quietus
“wonky narco-pop” – Kerrang
It’s been seven years since George McFall last bestowed a record upon us all, and by Christ it’s been worth the wait. XIV:SURROUNDER should come with all the fanfare of the Second Coming it’s that good and timely. George is a comforter for our benighted times, and XIV:SURROUNDER features nine one-word titles laden with sagacity, sardonicism and surreality. From the psychotically spacey krautrock of the near title track (‘Surrounder’), right through to the nihilistic six minute death waltz of ‘Norman’ at the conclusion. “It’s a Celtic synthy epic about a northern male archetype,” says George about the latter. “It’s about the closest I’ve come to writing a song with a narrative.
“Long-awaited” is an adjective that seems to feature in all of McFall’s press releases. The Edinburgh-raised musician first came to our attention with 2007’s lauded ‘First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment Of Women’; recorded under the moniker Clean George IV, a power pop retort to the 1558 polemic of the same name by the Scottish Calvinist theologian and miserabilist John Knox. The album that followed came just five years later, and won George a host of plaudits (see press quotes at the top). God Save The Clean established McFall as a maverick player with a streak of genius, imbuing all the cliches about potentially not living up to his promise in the process. XIV:SURROUNDER is thankfully a step forward, and incontestable proof of a very singular (and distinctly British) musical and lyrical talent.
“Activate the five year plan / On the wagon / In the can,” says George on the addictive ‘Autumn’ in his trademark east central sprechgesang. Trading under his birth name this time (in an attempt to act his age), the second album is an industrious and dense affair, both seductive and unsettling in its synthpop/prog/punk/rock/electro musical style with an overarching lyrical theme documenting a deliberate life on the line between escape and reality. It’s an intense, often dark, somewhat humorous record, reflecting a tumultuous period for its author involving deaths, romantic derelictions, lifestyle changes and severe self-assessment. “It’s a document of my attempts at overcoming self absorption, the dropping of masks, the distillation of output, the never ending battle against the traps of consumerism…” says George.
XIV:SURROUNDER was actually supposed to come out in 2014 – hence the title – but an unrelenting onslaught of both escape and reality prevented it from being finished till now.
The album was written, performed and recorded by George at his Tottenham studio. Drums were played by Murray Briggs (Oi Polloi) Stuart Bastiman (James Yorkston, Clean George IV) and Ali Moniack (Kling Klang), and recorded by Ali at his Arcadia Audio studio in Edinburgh. Additionally, the album was mixed by Aaron Cupples (the Drones, Civil Civic, Spiritualised).
XIV:SURROUNDER is an oneiric reimagining of the usual singer songwriter fodder, a mangled and mutated Burroughsian adventure that’s always as wry as it is boundlessly refreshing. Musically it never ceases to surprise either, from the bifurcated ‘Practice’ which concludes with a gleaming prog sci-fi outro, and the twitchy, pitchshifty soul glam of ‘Nargo’ (inspired by the gaming world), a track that’s so mind-meltingly original it could be be from 100 years in the future. Which should be just in time for George McFall’s next record.
George will be announcing UK live shows later this year – more details tba soon.
|Dimensions||12.5 × 0.5 × 14.2 cm|